Intro and Departure
Honolulu Travel Blog› entry 1 of 20 › view all entries
I am the type of person that thrives on travel. My wanderlust is insatiable and I crave the next adventure. Even if it’s 6 months away, I need something booked, something planned, something that keeps me going with anticipation.
When I got back from my last trip to Tanzania and Zanzibar in May I immediately started considering options for December. That’s kind of the way it’s been for me for the last 2.5 years living in Hawaii. I generally can get enough time off to take 2 trips per year, each being about 2 weeks in duration. May and December have been my trip months. The last couple years it was Peru in December 2014, then Australia May 2015, New Zealand December 2015, then Tanzania/Zanzibar May 2016… where could I go for December 2016? I narrowed it down to either the “W” trek in Torres del Paine Chile, or a cruise from Ushuaia Argentina to Antarctica, or a round the world Jordan/India combo trip. In the end, the combo of the two “new world wonders” of Petra and the Taj Mahal was the clear choice for me.
After a lot of comparison research with my American AAdvantage miles, my Chase points, and my AMEX points, I ended up using a combo of American and Chase to book all of the airfare (with the exception of my first leg) in business class. The routing on American’s partners, Alaskan and British, and Chase’s Kuwaiti Air booking would take me from Honolulu-San Jose-Heathrow-Amman-Kuwait City-Delhi-Heathrow-San Diego-Honolulu.
As for the logistics of how to get around and what to do, I am a fan of private, flexible tours… meaning just me and/or a friend, not a busload of 30 tourists… and start the tour on the exact day I want, no preset departures. It is more expensive this way but it’s a good tradeoff for the flexibility. My extensive internet research led me to a tour company in Jordan and another in India that satisfied my requirements. They had many private tour options to choose from and could start the tours on any day I chose. I went with Petra Nights Tours in Jordan and Golden Triangle India Tours in India.
My Jordan tour would include such sights as an Amman city tour featuring the Roman Theater and the Souqs, the Dead Sea, Umm Qais, Jerash, Mt. Nebo where Moses preached, Shobak and Ajloun Castles, and Petra. The India Golden Triangle would include Delhi, Agra Fort, Taj Mahal, an elephant ride, Jaipur, the Amber Fort, city palace and museum, Lotus Temple, and more of Rajahsthan. Meals and 4 star hotels were included as were the guides and transport. So far I think I did well with the air and tour bookings.
Now, I love traveling with friends or a significant other if possible, however since I’m currently single and most of my friends are tied to work or other commitments I often travel alone. This doesn’t bother me. I’d rather see the world any way I can, if it’s alone then so be it. Of course if you read my Tanzania/Zanzibar blog you know that I have a friend named Danielle that lives and works in Korea that came with me on that adventure. I would be remiss if I didn’t run this trip by her. The end result was that she couldn’t get enough time off of work to do the whole trip, but she was in for the India portion… so I’ll be doing Jordan solo but meeting her in Delhi in about a week.
I am on my first leg now, over the Pacific halfway between Honolulu and San Jose. My Alaskan Air flight today is the only flight on the itinerary that is not business or first class, however I was lucky enough to get an exit row aisle seat upon check-in on this Boeing 738 with 3-3 seat configuration, and the two seats next to me are vacant…awesome!!! It was originally fragged for a 1415 takeoff, but unfortunately the plane got delayed on its positioning leg out of Seattle due to weather, so we ended up taking off at 1800. I am due in to San Jose at 0030 local where some old friends, Maggie and Mike will pick me up from the airport as we have reservations at the Hotel de Anza that I booked on hotels.com since I have an overnight stopover. We actually have a good itinerary for tomorrow during the day as I don’t have to be back at the San Jose airport until 1700. More to follow tomorrow.
PS. Aside from this entry, I’ve been on my MacBook watching season 3 of Black Sails for the whole flight, and the guy in the aisle seat next to me is incessantly staring at my screen….like for the last 2 hours… like he can’t even hear the audio because I have headphones on but he continues to stare like it’s a public movie showing at the local drive-in…creepy McCreeperson!